Ensuring better outdoor safety for India’s adventures routes
Adventure travel in India is dominated by the unorganised sector and not much importance has been give to insurance covers. While insurance companies do provide insurance for normal holiday activities, it is not suitable for higher risk activities or sporting holidays. Insurance provider, Adventure Sports Cover 360 (ASC 360) provides a comprehensive list of adventure activities and also customises packages according to trips.
Speaking to Express TravelWorld, Prateek Gupta, founder, ASC 360, said, “We have identified over 200 plus sports and adventure activities that cover all four categories of air, water, mountain and allied sports. These have been further divided into five levels based on the various risks involved in the category. If one get insured for Level Five they are automatically covered for all other activities falling in lower levels. The policy is flexible and can be customised for individuals, groups and events as well.” Often people are not able to get timely quality care in group accidents or individual mishap. Through ASC 360, there will no liability on adventure operators and the person undertaking the activity will be insured.
The policy also include 60s days pre and 90 days post hospitalisation care. The company has recently introduced AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) to their policies as well. While many trekkers and adventure companies have had cases in the past, evacuation usually takes time in rough mountains of India. Therefore, the brand has involved the local community. Gupta shared, “We have expanded our operations to on foot evacuation via porters, ponies, guides to include immediate first respondents in mountain activities. This has encouraged the local authorities and also given us the chance to expedite our evacuation time and provide medical services at a faster rate.”
He further added, “This year 70 percent of the people on the Everest expedition were insured by our company. 12 people have already been evacuated this year while one death claim was settled through our insurance policy. We have tied up with international organisations, evacuation specialists and air transport companies for such higher level expeditions.”
The policy is for Indians travelling abroad as well as foreigners coming to India as well. Apart from travellers, the company also extends its service to adventure professionals. This additional factor makes it convenient for travel companies as it becomes a third party liability.
Since there is no search and rescue facility in the country, this specific segment is at the mercy of the availability of Indian Airforce and their resources. Speaking about the future plans, Gupta informed, “As a company we plan to make procedures for evacuation comparatively easier and put all resources in one place. We have already partnered with Indian Mountaineering Foundation and some adventure tour operators to raise better awareness among the fraternity. On a private level we will be partnering with air ambulance and chopper companies to have services at quick disposal. The target is to package it all together and serve the best to the industry.”